What Is Poverty Grass: Learn About Danthonia Poverty Grass


By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

The perfect turf grass is an item of debate and scientific inquiry. Turf grass is big business for golf courses, play fields, sports stadiums and other areas where the grass is a focal point of the site. The grass needs to be vigorous, hardy, resistant to disease and pests and able to withstand foot traffic and frequent mowing.

Of concern is also the amount of water and resources required to sustain the lawn. New grasses for turf, such as Danthonia poverty grass, have shown promise in all areas of concern. What is poverty grass? It is a native perennial oatgrass with excellent site, soil and temperature tolerance. Danthonia spicata hardiness is extremely broad ranged, and the grass can be grown in all parts of the United States.

Poverty Oatgrass Information

What is poverty grass and why is it an important species for industrial and commercial grass production? The plant isn’t invasive and does not spread from stolens or rhizomes. It does equally well on nutrient poor soil or even rocky terrain. It can thrive in full sun to partial shade, and will survive periods of drought.

The plant has a central crown from which the blades grow. If not mowed consistently, the ends of the foliage get curly. The leaves can get 5 inches long if left untrimmed. Flower spikes will form if the plant is left uncut. Danthonia spicata hardiness is in the United States Department of Agriculture ranges of 3 to 11.

Cultivated Use of Danthonia Poverty Grass

The poverty grass does not grow well when confronted with other plant species in rich soils. It performs much better when planted on inhospitable rocky areas. Many gold courses have areas where grass is hard to establish and Danthonia poverty grass would be useful in achieving coverage on these difficult plots.

The plant’s usefulness as a shade grass and ability to tolerate a wide range of soils and pH levels, make it an ideal choice for managed lawns and grass ways. Additionally, native grasses generally require less fertilizer, pesticide and water than commercial cultivars. This provides a winning solution for sites with poor sod contact and an economic advantage for high yield turf areas.

Growing Poverty Grass

Germination rates on poverty grass are relatively poor but once the grass takes hold, it is a tenacious plant. An important bit of poverty oatgrass information is its vigor. The plant establishes easily and has fewer problems than many traditional grass cultivars.

Apply a pre-emergence herbicide prior to planting, if you wish. This will help keep competitive weeds down while the seedlings are establishing. In spring, prepare a seed bed in full sun to partial shade. Rake out rocks and debris and work in compost to a depth of at least 6 inches. Sow at a rate of 3,000 per square foot.

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Climate, elevation – Poverty oatgrass inhabits a wide variety of areas, ranging in elevation from coastal regions at sea level to mountainous areas (USDA FEIS 2003).

Local occurrence (where, how common) – The species of interest is common throughout Washington State , in various habitats such as prairies and mountains.

Habitat preferences – Poverty oatgrass inhabits old fields, pastures, roadsides and woodland margins that have soil that is sand or rocky, low in fertility and low soil moisture ( Darbyshire and Cayquette 1989). Poverty oatgrass also inhabits clearcuts , burns, and areas that have been trampled (USDA FEIS 2003).

Plant strategy type/ successional stage (stress- tolerator , competitor, weedy/colonizer, seral , late successional ) – The species of interest is a secondary successor on burned and anthropologically disturbed sites ( Philipson 1986). It’s ability to colonize after a disturbance is due to long periods of seed dormancy (Livingston and Allessio 1968).

Associated species – Poverty oatgrass inhabits many grass, shrub, and forest habitats. Common prairie associates of poverty oatgrass include lowbush blueberry ( Vaccinium angustifolium ), goldenrod ( Solidago spp .), bracken fern ( Pteridium aquilinum ), little bluestem ( Schizachyrium scoparium ), wheatgrasses ( Triticeae ), fescues ( Festuca spp .), needlegrasses ( Achnatherum spp .), and bluegrasses ( Poa spp .) (USDA, FEIS 2003).

May be collected as: (seed, layered, divisions, etc.) – Seed or tillers

Collection restrictions or guidelines – Information not available.

Seed germination (needs dormancy breaking?) – Seeds are highly dormant, but germinate readily on exposed mineral soil ( Scheiner 1989).

Seed life (can be stored, short shelf-life, long shelf-life) – Due to the seeds’ dormancy, seeds may be stored for decades.


How to Grow Cat Grasses

If you like the idea of growing your own cat grass, fear not — you don’t necessarily need to have a green thumb to do so. “Cat grass is pretty simple to grow,” said Waldrop. “Drop the seeds in soil and add water. Keep the soil moist and in ten days or so offer it to your cat. I recommend [growing in] a low, heavy container, as they will be less likely to get knocked over.”

To start your garden off on the right foot — and to keep it thriving — the Humane Society suggests the following specific tips:

  1. Fill your heavy container about ¾ full of loose potting soil and sprinkle your seeds of choice evenly over the surface, then cover with about ¼-inch of soil.
  2. Cover the container loosely with plastic wrap and keep it at room temperature and away from direct sunlight, ensuring to keep the soil moist with a spray bottle as it feels dry.
  3. When sprouts appear in a few days, remove the covering and move the pot to a sunny spot, continuing to water as the soil feels dry to the touch. They recommend offering the grass to your cat when it’s approximately 3 to 4 inches tall.
  4. As the grass wilts (typically in a few weeks), pull out the shoots and plant more seeds. To keep the rotation steady for your cat, try planting several pots a week or two apart.


Oat grass

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Oat grass, any of the perennial plants of two genera of grasses, Arrhenatherum and Danthonia (family Poaceae). Named for their similarity to true oats (Avena sativa), the plants generally feature long dense spikelets of seeds. Several species are grown as forage and pasture grasses.

Approximately six or seven species of tall grasses native to temperate Europe and Asia constitute the genus Arrhenatherum. Tall oat grass (A. elatius), which has been introduced into various countries as a pasture grass, grows wild in many areas and is considered a weed. Onion couch, a variety of tall oat grass (A. elatius, variety bulbosum) named for its bulblike basal stems, is a noxious weed in areas outside its native range.

Also known as heathgrass, most of the more than 100 species of the genus Danthonia are native to temperate regions of the Southern Hemisphere. They are important forage grasses in Australia, New Zealand, and South America. Australian species are commonly called wallaby grasses. Poverty oat grass (D. spicata) is a grayish green mat-forming species that grows on dry poor soil in many parts of North America.

This article was most recently revised and updated by Melissa Petruzzello, Assistant Editor.


How to Grow Wheatgrass at Home

Last Updated: April 5, 2020 References Approved

This article was co-authored by Andrew Carberry, MPH. Andrew Carberry has been working in food systems since 2008. He has a Masters in Public Health Nutrition and Public Health Planning and Administration from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

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Wheatgrass is packed with essential vitamins and nutrients that keep your mind and body healthy and vibrant. [1] X Research source Taking a "shot" of juiced wheatgrass as part of your morning breakfast routine is considered a healthy way to start the day, but it can get very expensive. If you want to make wheatgrass a regular part of your diet, try growing it yourself at home instead of buying it already juiced. This article provides information on how to grow wheatgrass from seeds and make the most of it once it has matured.


Not just greenfingers

The cabbage I picked today

I was very pleased with a cabbage that I picked today. It has taken a long time to grow. In May I had nearly given up with most of my cabbages, as the flea beetle had virtually distroyed them.

This week I have been concentrating on an overgrown patch on my allotment plot number two, which is next to my ‘leaf mould’ area.

It was overgrown with brambles and weeds and I had already cut it back in the spring, with the intention of sorting it out a few weeks later. This unfortunately never happened and this was the result.

That will teach me to do half a job!

After a morning of working hard, I managed to clear the brambles and weeds and I put a covering of weed suppressant, to stop them from growing back.

I was very pleased with the result. The plan for this area is that eventually it will have another poly-tunnel on it, that’s when we finally manage to save up for one.

I re-used the weed suppressant that I already had around my large plum tree, on my fourth allotment plot. It was used to kill all the couch grass around the tree by leaving it in place, since the spring. It has done it’s job brilliantly.

This year I have been growing one or two unusual things. One of the things is a ‘Shark Fin Melon’.

The ‘Garden Organic Team’ from Ryton visited Eco house in May and told us about some exotic plants to try and grow and even gave us some free seeds.

I planted the Shark Fin Melon seed in May, underneath a half cut plastic bottle and hoped for the best. Though I have had loads of foliage growing (it’s quite a monster), I have only just found the fruit growing on it, probably due to the rotten summer we have had. However, if I keep my fingers crossed, we may have a good autumn, (or am I wishing too much there) and it may still have time to grow.

There are details about the Shark Fin Melon here.

Following on from my post on Friday regarding child poverty, (which you can read here), I have decided to post some more cheap and easy family recipes.

I think a lot of people will make these simple meals anyway, so I apologise to you, but if I help just one person who doesn’t cook, to feed their family more cheaply, then I will have achieved my aim.

Toad in the Hole

(to feed a family of four, with good sized portions)

100 Grams Plain Flour

300ml Of Milk

2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

Preheat your oven Gas Mark 7 / 220C / 425F

Grill the sausages until nearly cooked.

While the sausages are cooking, pour the oil into a large shallow tin and put in the oven for at least 10 minutes, so the oil is piping hot (this is the secret to a good Yorkshire pudding)

Put the milk, flour and eggs into a bowl and whisk with a hand blender until thoroughly mixed together.

When the sausages are nearly cooked, put into the hot oil and immediately pour the batter over them.

Cook for approximately 25 -30 minutes.

I’ve worked out that the Toad in the Hole cost me just £1.16 to make. So it’s another very cheap meal for a family of four.

Tonight I served it with home-grown vegetables and gravy, but it is equally nice with mashed potatoes and a tin of baked beans.



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